Lei postal (Postal Law)

/ Updated on 24.02.2014

The Law no. 17/2012https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1127982, of 26 April, changed by Decree-Law no. 160/2013https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1183250, of 19 November and by Law no. 16/2014https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1201952, of 4 April,  lays down the legal regime governing the provision of postal services, under a full competition regime, on national territory, as well as of international services to or from national territory, transposing to the national legal system Directive 2008/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008.

This law accomplishes full liberalization of the postal market, abolishing those areas under the universal service that remained reserved to the respective provider - CTT - Correios de Portugal, S. A. (CTT).

However, for reasons of public order and security or of public interest, certain activities and services may be reserved to determined postal services providers, such as the siting of letter boxes for the acceptance of postal items on the public highway, the issue and sale of postage stamps featuring the name of Portugal and the registered mail service as used in judicial or administrative proceedings. CTT shall remain the exclusive supplier of these activities and services until 2020.

In addition to including a set of general provisions, such as the definition and classification of the various operations comprising the postal activity (Article 4) and the types of mail (Article 5), the law contains a specific chapter on the universal service, considered as the supply of postal services defined in the law, of a specified quality and permanently available throughout the territory, at affordable prices for all users, aiming to meet the communication needs of the population and those of economic and social activities (article 10, paragraph 1).

The universal service comprises the following provisions of a national and international scope (article 12): postal items, excluding direct mail, and catalogues, books, newspapers and other periodicals up to 2 Kg and postal parcels up to 10 Kg. The universal service also includes a service for registered items and a service of insured items, as well as the delivery within the national territory of postal packages received from other Member States of the European Union and weighing up to 20 kg.

The quality of service parameters and performance objectives associated with universal service provision, as well as the criteria governing the determination of prices, are to be established by decision of ANACOM (article 13, paragraph 1 and article 14, paragraph 3, of the Law no. 17/2012, changed by Decree-Law no. 160/2013, 19 November and by Law no. 16/2014, of 4 April).

As regards the regime governing provision of postal services, the Law establishes a system of individual licensing applicable to the provision of postal services covered by the universal service, while provision of remaining postal services is made subject to the general authorization scheme, under which the parties concerned, after providing ANACOM with a set of items, may initiate their activity, not bring subject to any prior act of this authority. The general authorization scheme is also less demanding, as is reflected both in terms of requisites of access to the activity and in terms of the imposition of obligations (article 24 and following articles).

Another important issue is that of access to postal networks (article 38) and to elements of the postal infrastructure (article 39). While the universal service providers are bound, from the outset, to ensure access to their networks by agreement with suppliers who request such access, ANACOM is given various powers of intervention in this respect.

Meanwhile, all postal service providers may negotiate and conclude an agreement themselves on access to elements of their respective postal infrastructure or to services they provide, whereas ANACOM may intervene, where so requested by one of the parties involved, in the event that the parties fail to reach an agreement. Such elements include the postcode system, address database, post office boxes, information on change of address, re-direction service and return to sender service (article 39).